After the falling of the leaves
In crunchy ginger drifts,
The damp, woody, bundle-up smells
Of smokiness in clinging fogs,
Brittle branches jewelled with ice-rimed berries
Pierce heavy skies,
And my school shoes slip on glassy pavements,
As I run for the glowing bus home.
The nights come early now.
Mist-grey light dissolves
Into violet, indigo, black
Soft darkness kisses windows –
The world fades, vanishes.
There are only reflections of us
Lamps lit, gas fire hissing, BBC coddling
Before Dad shuts the curtains
And cooks us tea.
There’s no such thing as magic, but there is –
Sweet, synthetic scent of tinsel
Static in the air
Paper rustling in Dad’s room
“You can’t come in!”
A crackling, thrilling weight on the bed
Discovered in darkness
Unpacked by lamplight
Brother and sister and I
Shrieking, ripping, laughing, stuffing.
Golden aromas from the kitchen
Chocolate on our chins
Multi-coloured lights flashing, glittering
On the presents
The presents –
In waves spreading from the tree
Mousetrap, Merlin, He-Man, Barbie
Scores of wrapped thoughts
From my dad, to us.
He smiles and waggles his specs.
“Have yourself a merry little Christmas” sings the TV
And we did.
A long time ago,
When we were a family.